Differential polymer structure tunes mechanism of cellular uptake and transfection routes of poly(β-amino ester) polyplexes in human breast cancer cells

Jayoung Kim, Joel C. Sunshine, Jordan J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Successful gene delivery with nonviral particles has several barriers, including cellular uptake, endosomal escape, and nuclear transport. Understanding the mechanisms behind these steps is critical to enhancing the effectiveness of gene delivery. Polyplexes formed with poly(β-amino ester)s (PBAEs) have been shown to effectively transfer DNA to various cell types, but the mechanism of their cellular uptake has not been identified. This is the first study to evaluate the uptake mechanism of PBAE polyplexes and the dependence of cellular uptake on the end group and molecular weight of the polymer. We synthesized three different analogues of PBAEs with the same base polymer poly(1,4-butanediol diacrylate-co-4-amino-1-butanol) (B4S4) but with small changes in the end group or molecular weight. We quantified the uptake and transfection efficiencies of the pDNA polyplexes formulated from these polymers in hard-to-transfect triple negative human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB 231). All polymers formed positively charged (10-17 mV) nanoparticles of ∼200 nm in size. Cellular internalization of all three formulations was inhibited the most (60-90% decrease in cellular uptake) by blocking caveolae-mediated endocytosis. Greater inhibition was shown with polymers that had a 1-(3-aminopropyl)-4-methylpiperazine end group (E7) than the others with a 2-(3-aminopropylamino)-ethanol end group (E6) or higher molecular weight. However, caveolae-mediated endocytosis was generally not as efficient as clathrin-mediated endocytosis in leading to transfection. These findings indicate that PBAE polyplexes can be used to transfect triple negative human breast cancer cells and that small changes to the same base polymer can modulate their cellular uptake and transfection routes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry

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